THRIVE: Tackling Health Inequalities and Extending Working Lives

Globally, many policymakers are facing challenges related to the demographic shift to older populations, increased life expectancy and the increased prevalence of ill health and disability. Less skilled workers have a shorter life expectancy, earlier onset of ill health, and are more likely to suffer from multiple health conditions as they get older. Policymakers urgently need to develop strategies that account for these health inequalities when extending working lives.

International comparisons across Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the UK, demonstrate different approaches to tackling the challenge of an aging population. THRIVE will make evidence-based policy recommendations by combining the insights from our study countries and systematically examining research findings globally.

THRIVE is organised into 4 work packages:

International comparison of the changing pattern of longstanding illness, co-morbidity and caring across the life course, the employment consequences of this pattern and how this varies by SES, gender, country and cohort.

  1. Comparative equity focused policy analysis to develop a typology and case studies of international policies.
  2. Systematic reviews assessing the differential impact of policies to extend the working lives for older people with longstanding illness. We focus on: the effects of return-to-work policies; effects on the employment of older workers of changes to disability benefits; and, the effects on the employment of disabled older workers of wage subsidies.
  3. Syntheses, scenario analysis, and policy implications. The findings from the other work packages will be fed into this final work package and results will be disseminated to policy makers and other stakeholders.


Current outputs

Country Policy Review 

Policies for extending working lives. Policy Reviews: Sweden, Denmark, Canada and the UK. Read more

Published papers

  • McAllister, A., Bentley, L., Brønnum-Hansen, H., Jensen, N.K., Nylen, L., Andersen, I., Liao, Q., Bodin, T., Mustard, C. and Burström, B., 2019. Inequalities in employment rates among older men and women in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the UK. BMC public health, 19(1), p.319
  • Chen, W.H., 2019. Health and transitions into nonemployment and early retirement among older workers in Canada. Economics & Human Biology35, pp.193-206
  • Jensen, N.K., Brønnum-Hansen, H., Andersen, I., Thielen, K., McAllister, A., Burström, B., Barr, B., Whitehead, M. and Diderichsen, F., 2019. Too sick to work, too healthy to qualify: a cross-country analysis of the effect of changes to disability benefits. Journal of Epidemiology Community Health, pp.717-722

Book chapter

Conference presentations

  • McAllister, A., Bentley, L., Brønnum-Hansen, H., Liao, Q., Nylen, L.L., Mustard, C. and Burström, B., 2017. Social differentials in older persons’ employment in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the UK in 2010-15Ashley McAllister. European Journal of Public Health27(suppl_3)
  • Bentley, L., Liao, Q., Barr, B. and Mustard, C., 2018. OP26 Temporal trends in multi-morbidity and how it impacts employment among older adults in canada and england: understanding generational and social inequalities
  • Workshop: Organised by: University of Liverpool, UK and Chairpersons: Ben Barr, UK, Bo Burström, Sweden, 2018. 9. Q. Workshop: Tackling Health Inequalities in Extending Working Lives–Findings from the THRIVE Project. European Journal of Public Health28(suppl_4), pp.213-815

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